raspberry cashew "cheesecake"

I've been really proud of myself lately.  I bought myself a nifty little juicer (which is, apparently, an excellent way to entertain drunk house guests) and drink a green foamy concoction every morning.  I've been eating all-vegetable meals five days out of the week, albeit often smothered in cheese.  I haven't exactly been exercising, but I do have to carry a lot of books up a little hill every morning to get to class.

To ensure that this isn't just a phase, I have sought inspiration from a number of beautiful and enlightening blogs; some are raw-food based, some are vegan, some are vegetarian, and some just health-conscious.  A particularly lovely blog, My New Roots, featured a cake that looked so breathtaking, it...well, it took my breath away.  And after recreating it, with a few minor changes, I will attest with breathless exhilaration that it tastes as good as it looks.  
"Cheesecake" is in quotations because it really isn't one, in the traditional sense of the word.  This cake contains not one ounce of cream cheese, not one egg, nor one scoop of sugar.    Does it taste like cheesecake?  Not exactly.  But it is delicious in its own right, with a familiar silkiness and tang that makes it taste both light and decadent at the same time.  The ingredient list is refreshingly short, and it's seriously hard to mess this one up.  Apologies for my failure to take pictures of the process; it was so easy that I literally forgot, since putting it together only involves a couple of whizzes in your trusty food processor/blender and a stint in the freezer.  

You could use whatever fruit you'd like to flavor the top layer (my next goal: green tea!), or even make additional layers to really impress the pants off of everybody.  

raspberry cashew "cheesecake" recipe adapted from the amazing My New Roots*

1 1/2 cups cookie crumbs, pulverized in a food processor (I used crispy oatmeal cookies)
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted**

1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 5 hours, but preferably overnight
juice of 2 lemons (or more for texture)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 cup raspberries (if frozen, thaw completely and drain)

In a bowl, mix your cookie crumbs with the butter and coconut oil until it resembles damp sand.  Depending on what cookie you use, add a pinch of salt to taste.  Press into a 7" spring form pan, making sure it is relatively even throughout and covers the bottom completely.   By the way, my spring form pan is 9", which is why my cake is flatter and a bit sadder than the original.  Next time, I will try increasing the amount of filling so I can get that height.  (If you don't have a spring form pan, line a pie plate with saran wrap.)  Chill in the refrigerator while making the filling.

Warm the coconut oil and honey in a small saucepan over low heat, whisking to combine.

Drain the cashews, and blend them in the food processor/blender with all of the filling ingredients except for the raspberries.  Blend until very smooth - it may take a couple of minutes, so be patient and scrape down the sides periodically.  If the filing looks too thick to pour, add a little more lemon juice.

Pour about 2/3 of the mixture on top of the crust, smoothing with a spatula and tapping the pan on the counter to ensure that it  forms an even layer.  Add the raspberries to the rest of the filling and blend until smooth.  Pour it over the first layer, and smooth the top with a spatula.  Freeze until solid.

Take out of the freezer 30 minutes before serving.  Run a sharp knife under hot water and cut into slices.       

*The original recipe was entirely raw, but I changed the crust a little to ease myself into the idea of a healthy cheesecake.
**You can find coconut oil at Whole Foods and other specialty stores.  It's a little pricey, but can also be used as a healthy alternative to other oils.  I've been using it for stir-fries.  And it really smells like coconut!


Frank said...

the juicer is indeed great entertainment for drunk house guests